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THE ROLE OF THE STATE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROADS AND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN POLAND IN 1919-1939 (Rola panstwa w rozbudowie infrastruktury drogowej w Polsce 1919-1939)

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The construction of a well-developed road network in Poland in the 19th century was hampered by the non-existence of an independent Polish state. Polish territories annexed by Russia, Prussia and Austria were developed each at its own pace and in the interests of the military and industrial complexes of those countries. As a result in 1918 Poland inherited three rather different road networks. When the hostilities were finally over, the first years of peace (1918-1922) saw a massive effort to repair the devastated road infrastructure. The works were uncoordinated and usually focused on solving the most urgent needs. At that time the total length of roads amounted to 43,000 kilometres. The war also took a heavy toll on the bridges (137,000 meters of bridge surface were wrecked). As funds were scarce, all efforts were concentrated on the maintenance of existing roads to prevent their total degradation. It was not until the military coup of 1926 that the situation began to change. While some old plans were implemented, for the first time work started on new roads. The economic crisis brought these ambitious developments to a sudden halt. A new beginning came in 1933 with a three-year plan of road building, followed by a four-year plan in 1937. Most of the new projects were located in the eastern part of Poland. According to figures published by the Ministry of Transport the total cost of road projects in the interwar period was 1672 millions of zloties . This money was spent on building 20,000 kilometres of paved roads, including circa 3,000 kilometres of reinforced surface, and 110,000 meters of bridges, mostly wooden. In spite of the efforts undertaken by successive Polish governments, the interwar period proved too short to modernize the road infrastructure taken over in 1918
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  • Mariusz W. Majewski, no address given, contact the journal editor
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